Chronology  Click here
I-MAG STS    Corporation
On May 8, 2010 English writer David Mitchell asserted in The Telegraph that the
Charles Dickens novel
A Tale of Two Cities had sold over 200 MILLION copies
easily outpacing J.R.R. Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings. In hopes of either uncovering
a fresh source of statistics or a joke, we have written to ask what the basis of the
estimate was. One should always be wary of web pages with "OAS_rn = new String
(Math.random());" embedded in the HTML. Readers of Dickens will recall his
novel was set in Paris and London, and that it gains a great deal of impact from the
events of the French Revolution.
Depending on the publisher's preferences, Tolkien's second volume is often titled
The Two Towers (books three and four) and deals with Orthanc, the citadel of
Saruman, and Minas Morgul, a fortress which guards the secret entrance to
Mordor. It is not a criticism to point out that Tolkien reuses the grand theme of
two opposing towers in the third part, usually titled
The Return of the King. In that
volume the action is focused on Minas Tirith, the besieged remnant of the capital
city of Gondor,and Barad-dur, the place of power for Sauron.
Quite by happenstance, when experimenting with some parallel processing to take
advantage of the possibilities of using massive numbers of cores on sharded
databases, we noticed some interesting mathematical similarities among three
cities: Libreville in Gabon in Western Africa; Maputo in Mozambique in Eastern
Africa; and Bandar-Abbas in Iran along the Straits of Hormuz.  In addition to the
technical tactics, we were interested in the strategic consequences were these
metropolitan areas to be damaged by tsunamis caused by a nearby major marine
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